Kai Sotto FIBA PHOTO
Following the conclusion of Kai Sotto’s NBA Summer League stint with the Orlando Magic, coach Chot Reyes of Gilas Pilipinas expects the towering 7-foot-3 center to join the team’s practice on Tuesday, July 18.
Reyes has been in constant communication with Sotto’s camp, and he confirmed to the Manila Times that the 21-year-old basketball prodigy will be joining the national team after his time in Las Vegas.
Sotto’s arrival comes as a timely boost for Gilas Pilipinas, as they enter the final stages of preparation for the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup, scheduled to take place next month.
In his debut game in the NBA Summer League, Sotto displayed a decent performance after being sidelined for three games. He contributed six points, four rebounds, and three blocked shots in 13 minutes of playing time during Orlando’s 88-71 loss to Portland on Friday.
Sotto aims to wrap up his Summer League stint with another appearance on the court when the Magic face off against the Boston Celtics on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
However, it is still uncertain whether Sotto will secure a contract with an NBA team at this stage.
The slender center, who previously played two seasons for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL, represented Gilas during the fourth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, where the Philippines split their two games.
Sotto had the opportunity to team up with NBA star Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz for the first time in that window, back in August 2022, but Gilas fell short with an 85-81 defeat against Lebanon in Beirut.
Three days later, Gilas Pilipinas bounced back with a dominant performance, crushing Saudi Arabia with an 84-46 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Sotto returned for the fifth window in November, helping Gilas secure a 74-66 win against Jordan, followed by a 76-63 triumph over Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.
During the two FIBA windows he played, the former Ateneo Blue Eaglet averaged 13.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks.
Gilas is scheduled to travel to China for a mini-pocket tournament from August 2-5, as the team finalizes its preparations for the World Cup.